An illiterate old lady in a Shanghai linglong that was due for demolition last year. We spoke to her on camera.

South African in China

Thoughts on being South African in China, ahead of our appearance in the documentary Postcards from China, with links for Africans in China.

Dining car on the night train from Bangkok to the Laos border

Night Train to Nong Khai

A night train from Bangkok to Nong Khai, on the border of Laos, is an opportunity to indulge in fantasies of the East.

A Mughal tomb in Allahabad

Writer in Transit

I don’t have a single journal entry about my three months in India. I didn’t write anything about my time there, except for a post about the dancer that didn’t dance, in a Bombay beer bar. The scene – a slice out of a furtive, alternative reality, swallowed up in Mumbai’s underworld – spoke to me, forming sentences in my head. But those brief moments of inspiration stood alone.


London to Shanghai: The Whole Story

Claire and I are in a small seaside town in South India. It’s called Gokarna, which means Cow’s Ear in Sanskrit. Shiva, the Hindu god [...]

Travel and Nostaligia

Travel and Nostalgia

“What is the purpose, I wonder, of all this restlessness? I sometimes seem to myself to wander around the world merely accumulating material for future nostalgias.”

A Mumbai slum

A Passage to India (with apologies to E.M. Forster)

“The brown skins, the bare feet, the nose-rings, the humped bullocks – all these things were foreseeable, seemed obvious and familiar from the moment of [...]

Aleppo's Citadel

Mistaking Aleppo

I woke as we neared the Syrian border, my left cheek clammy and wrinkled. Saliva had collected on the headrest of my reclined bus seat [...]


Crossing the Channel

Our last night in Ireland was spent in Cork, drinking Murphy’s, the local stout, while drifting between the pubs near our hostel. We caught a [...]


Down to Dublin

Heads aching, eyes burning and skin clammy, Iain and I took a bus from Belfast to Dundalk, far too early in the morning. It was [...]

Old World Wandering

Beginnings: Oxford

An almost missed bus drew the two of us into Oxford, bleary eyed and recovering from my birthday, celebrated over the previous two days. I’d [...]

Old World Wandering

Early Writing: Oxford

I found myself sitting in ‘Oxford’s Oldest Coffee Shop’ clasping a mug of strong coffee closely. The rather nasal voice of a flustered young student, [...]